Just watched the Hunger Games; wonderful, perfect, beautiful SF film for which I must own the soundtrack. Now I am sitting in the theater waiting foor The Avengers to start while getting drunk on whiskey and cokes. (Theaters with bars are great things) Best night ever, would only be improved by tacos (going out for Mexican later currently starving) and RL friends to see it with (am pathetic and friendless if I were less cowardly or more drunk I could try and make friends with one of the geeks now sitting in this theater but instead I’m posting to Tumblr.
Things we are trying to do all the time:
- be safe
Things we can’t help but do all the time:
- second-guess ourselves
- behave impulsively and reactively
- take everything personally
- have difficulty accepting compliments
- have difficulty reciprocating friendly gestures
- have difficulty finding the courage to respond
- have difficulty not being suspicious of others’ intentions
- make a huge deal out of the smallest thing
Things you should keep in mind:
- we’re scared of everything
- pretty much all of the time
- it’s an actual disorder
- it manifests as impulsive behavior
- you can’t fix us with words
- telling us “worrying is silly” won’t make us stop worrying
- it’ll only make us feel silly
- and then we’ll worry even more
- “oh god, am i worrying too much? what if they call me silly again?”
- like that
- also, we wear a lot of armor
- cold, heavy, affection-proof armor with spikes
- we constructed this armor as children
- we’re fairly certain you will never be able to pry it apart
- but there is a nice person under there, we promise
Things you can do for a friend with an anxiety disorder:
- stick around
- ask them if they’re comfortable in a place or situation
- be willing to change the place or situation if not
- activities that help them take their mind off of things are good!
- talk to them even when they might not talk back
- (they’re probably too afraid to say the wrong thing)
- try not to take their reactions (or lack thereof) personally
- (the way they expresses themself is distorted and bent because of their constant fear)
- (and they knows this)
- give them time to respond to you
- they will obsess over how they are being interpreted
- they will anticipate being judged
- it took me four hours just to type this much
- even though i sound casual
- that’s because i have an anxiety disorder
Things you shouldn’t do:
- tell us not to worry
- tell us we’ll be fine
- mistake praise for comfort
- ask us if we are “getting help”
- force us to be social
- force us to do things that trigger us
- “face your fears” doesn’t always work
- because—remember—scared of everything
- in fact, it would be more accurate to say we are scared of the fear itself
Emergency action procedure for panic attacks:
- be calm
- be patient
- don’t be condescending
- remind us that we’re not “crazy”
- sit with us
- ask us to tighten and relax our muscles one by one
- remind us that we are breathing
- engage us in a discussion (if we can talk, then we can breathe)
- if we are having trouble breathing, try getting us to exhale slowly
- or breathe through our nose
- or have us put our hands on our stomach to feel each breath
- ask us what needs to change in our environment in order for us to feel safe
- help us change it
- usually, just knowing that we have someone on our side willing to fight our scary monsters with us is enough to calm us down
If you have an anxiety disorder:
- it’s okay.
- even if you worry that it’s not okay.
- it’s still okay. it’s okay to be scared. it’s okay to be scared of being scared.
- you are not crazy. you are not a freak.
- i know there’s a person under all that armor.
- and i know you feel isolated because of it.
- i won’t make you take it off.
- but know that you are not alone.
I don’t think I’ve been specifically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and I don’t have panic attacks, but there’s plenty of anxiety tied up in my depression, and…wow, do I ever identify with a lot of this. Possibly I’m not a failure of a human being for having problems with everything.
YES. THIS. ALL OF THIS. OH MY GOD.
It’s bizarre, but also logical, that I am most comfortable around a stranger/acquaintance who exhibits signs of anxiety. Because I know exactly what they are thinking and feeling in that moment, and I know how to act/react to allay their anxiety. It is confident, fearless people who are the cipher, to me. I don’t know what is going on in their heads.
Being on Effexor massively reduces the anxiety I experience at any given moment, especially socially. But it does balls for helping me take off my armor. I am all smiles on the surface but try to get close to me and up go the walls.